New Where Dreams Blossom Stamp Lets Your Mail Bloom

Whether you’re sending thank-you notes, save-the-date notices, or cheerful cards of love and encouragement, the new Where Dreams Blossom Forever® stamp is sure to brighten up your envelopes.

WhereDreamsBlossom-Forever-single-BGv1With a playful take on the popular floral theme, this contemporary stamp features eleven colorful blooms, just one shy of the traditional dozen. The stamp’s title is taken from the unattributed quotation, “Hopes are planted in friendship’s garden where dreams blossom into priceless treasures.”

Similar to the design of the two-ounce Yes, I Do wedding stamp, Where Dreams Blossom is a perfect companion for wedding correspondence and notes to friends.

The Forever stamp was released yesterday at the ASDA Spring Postage Stamp Show in New York City and is available now online and in Post Offices around the country.

Where Dreams Blossom is available in sheets of 20 self-adhesive stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.

Third Stamp in Music Icons Series Will Honor Ray Charles

We are very pleased this morning to announce that the third stamp in the new Music Icons series will celebrate the life and music of Ray Charles (1930–2004).

This extraordinary composer, singer, and pianist, blind since childhood, went beyond category, blending blues, gospel, country, jazz, and soul music in a unique and highly influential pop music style. His many hits include “I’ve Got a Woman,” “Georgia on My Mind,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

All rights to the name and likeness of Ray Charles are owned by The Ray Charles Foundation. Photo © MEPHISTO

For the stamp, art director Ethel Kessler chose a photograph of Ray Charles taken by Yves Carrère later in the inspiring performer’s career.

Looking back over the course of his long career, there seemed to be little Charles couldn’t do. His work spanned almost the entire breadth of American music and brought him 17 Grammy Awards, plus an award for lifetime achievement in 1987. His many other prizes include the National Medal of Arts, awarded in 1993, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986. That same year, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He performed at the White House many times for several different presidents.

The Ray Charles stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate. A release date has not yet been set.

Have a favorite Ray Charles song? Tell us about it in the comments!

Forever Means Forever!

The winter holidays are just around the corner, and there’s no better time to stock up on your favorite Forever® stamps!

Forever stamps are always purchased at the current First-Class™ one-ounce letter rate. As the name suggests, Forever stamps can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used, and no matter how prices may change in the future. You can also use Forever stamps for international mail as long as you affix the required amount of additional postage.

Forever stamps are available for purchase at Post Offices and ATMs nationwide, online from The Postal Store®, by phone at 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724), and via the USA Philatelic catalog.

Don’t forget, Forever means forever!

Environmentalist Lady Bird Johnson To Be Immortalized on Stamp

Forty-seven years ago today, Congress signed into law the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, known as “Lady Bird’s Bill” because of Lady Bird Johnson’s keen interest and active support of its passage. We are delighted to announce today that the U.S. Postal Service will celebrate this and other of Mrs. Johnson’s achievements with the release of the Lady Bird Johnson Souvenir Forever stamps sheet.

The dedication ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 11 a.m. on November 30, 2012, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

“The Postal Service is proud to issue this historic Forever stamp honoring a beloved First Lady who worked tirelessly to make the United States a more beautiful place,” says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy lives on along our nation’s roadsides, and urban parks and trails, which she so diligently worked to preserve and beautify, and now on a U.S. postage stamp to commemorate her contributions for forever.”

To learn more about Lady Bird Johnson (1912–2007) and events celebrating the centennial of her birth, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Centennial website. You can preorder the souvenir sheet now for delivery in early December by visiting The Postal Store or by calling 800-STAMP-24.

Vintage Children’s Books Helped Inspire Santa and Sleigh Stamps

The first thing artist Paul Rogers did after being asked to design a holiday stamp showing a “traditional” image of Santa Claus was search the Internet. He was looking for storybook images that would spark his childhood memories and give him a starting point for the project.

Several children’s storybooks gave him a feeling for possible ways to approach the subject:

“Donald Duck and Santa Claus,” illustrated by Al Dempster (1952)

“The Golden Book of Little Verses,” illustrated by Mary Blair (1953)

“The Night Before Christmas,” illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren (1951)

“Wonder Book of Christmas,” illustrated by Lou Myers (1951)

“I was worried about how to do it and not be corny,” Rogers said. “I grew up in California, so I’ve never seen a snowy village.”

First, Rogers did a rough sketch of Santa to suggest a basic look.

He then sent sketches for the block of four stamps to art director Howard Paine. They considered presenting Santa’s face as a sort of puzzle.

But in the end they decided on a different strategy. Rogers presented sketches with one stamp more “finished” to give a better sense of what he had in mind.

An early version of the solution they agreed on appears above. The final stamps are slightly different: The reindeer’s legs in the top right square, for example, joined its whole body in the top left in the finished version. Changes were made to the houses as well.

“Howard Paine is such a great art director,” Rogers said. “He always gave really great advice.”

This set includes a booklet of 20 stamps and four envelopes, each with an affixed stamp and a First Day of Issue color postmark (click for more info).

The special challenge posed by this assignment, Rogers said, was to create a composition that would work as four stamps together as well as individually. His original sketches were drawn in pencil on paper, but the final images were computer-generated—making the stamp art simultaneously traditional and new.

The Santa and Sleigh Forever® stamps are now available online and in Post Offices nationwide as double-sided booklets of 20 self-adhesive stamps each. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.  At the time of issuance, the Santa and Sleigh stamps are being sold at a price of 45 cents each, or $9.00 per booklet.